Adventures in almost getting arrested

RantsJul 10 20077 Comments

So, you’d think having the content of my entire blog stolen would probably be the most unfair thing that would happen to us all weekend, right?

You would be wrong. It wasn’t the most unfair thing that happened all weekend. The most unfair thing that happened was when Terry was stopped by the police, just for having a nice car. Because that totally makes sense.

We were on the way to Edinburgh for a barbecue when we saw the police car. It was heading in the opposite direction, but as soon as the cops noticed us they did a big, dramatic U-turn and started following us. Exciting! I love a chase, me. Not that it was much of a "chase" though: Terry, who was driving, had noticed them turn round, and had been watching them in his rear view mirror, so he knew they were following him. Actually, Terry pretty much always knows when the police are following him, because the police pretty much always are. It’s the car, we think. The car is old, but it is a bit flashy looking. Terry and I, on the other hand, are not even remotely flashy looking, so the police normally assume we stole the car. Many are the times Terry has been pulled over for no particular reason (OK, four are the times he’s been pulled over, and one of those times he was speeding), just so they can give it the once over and phone Interpol, or whatever it is that the police do in these situations.

But I digress. They pulled us over about sixty seconds after they started following us. Despite this, as soon as the cop came to the car window he decided to be all dramatic, and said, "You obviously don’t use your mirrors enough – we’ve been trying to pull you over for ages." This, my friends? Was a dirty, rotten lie. I hate that.

The reason they had pulled us over? They said the rear lights on the car were "illegal" and, indeed, "dangerous". This was news to us, because the car had been MOT’d just four days earlier. Yes, last week Terry went through the torture and fear that is an MOT-Day. When he drove away, £200 the lighter, he had no idea that he was driving away in a "dangerous" and "illegal" vehicle. "Why would the car have passed the MOT if it was dangerous and illegal?" said Terry to the cop. "Pshaw!" said the cop to Terry. "An MOT does not check whether your vehicle is legal or not! Tut!" Then he took Terry away to his car and kept him there for twenty minutes. I remained in the car with a pile of marinated pork and seven barbecue spears on my knee, thanking Christ that they hadn’t stopped me and checked my tax disc twice, because, whoops, although I bought a new one, I didn’t actually remember to put it on the car.

Now, this situation sucked, and the police knew it did. They tried really hard to find something else wrong with the car, going over it with a finetooth comb (Note: not really. They just used their hands.) and seemed to be really gutted when everything was in order. After all that, they didn’t even fine Terry: instead, having told him that he should not trust the MOT test centre to tell him whether his car is legal or not, he has to take it to the MOT test centre within the next 21 days, and get them to tell him whether it’s legal or not. So, just to clarify: he must take his car to Kwick Fit and get them to sign a piece of paper saying that they reckon the car is safe to drive. This would be the same Kwick Fit he took the car to last week, and who gave him a piece of paper saying that they reckoned it was safe to drive. Words fail me. (Note: not really, again. Or I wouldn’t have written this mammoth blog post, would I?)

So, this has annoyed me quite a bit. My feeling – and I am rarely wrong about these things – is that the cops were just bored and decided to pick on Terry because they saw him driving a nice car. Also, even although it is something I’ve always suspected, I am also surprised to find that the MOT test is not, in fact, a test to see if there is anything wrong with your car, but is a test to see if there’s any way the garage can arrange to take money from you. I feel a bit ripped off, really.

Still, at least the barbecue was good.